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five bad business habits and how to  fix them

Breaking the Habit: How to Fix Your Team’s “Harmless” Work Behaviors


Working in teams is challenging. Even with co-workers who like each other, managing various personalities in ways that feel fair and equitable to everyone isn’t easy.

Some work behaviors are helpful, like raising a hand to speak in a crowded conference room. Others, like hitting “Reply All” for every email, are not. Exceptional event planning takes a strong team working well together across various disciplines. Observe these behaviors in your team and take quick action to resolve them so your people can produce events to the very best of their ability.

Meetings that Could be Emails

You sometimes need to bring the whole team together to discuss logistics for an event, especially when a different person or team handles each item; in this case, meetings are beneficial to find holes in the system and assign resources accordingly.

Day-to-day check-ins, however, do not typically need an all-hands-on-deck meeting and can be disruptive towards completing other tasks. If the required response is as simple as “Yes, the payment was sent,” or “No, the venue does not provide parking,” then skip the meeting.

A shared or online task-scheduling system can be a lifesaver in fixing this behavior. A project manager can assign tasks and due dates to different people, who can provide documentation, messages, and alerts without a meeting. As a bonus, anyone can check in on the status of an individual project without needing a complete meeting and connect with only those resources that need additional help or assistance.

a woman typing on a laptop

Not Being Mobile

The reality of events is that only a small part of event marketing services take place in the office. There are site visits, tastings, entertainment auditions, activity coordinators, trips to the printer, shopping for activity materials, and assembling goodie bags. You work short-handed if you have people who can’t work well in the field.

Being able to bring a laptop is helpful, but not if teams can’t access important files. Make sure your most important resources like contracts, forms, work orders, receipts, and the like are available when and where your team needs them. Make sure you have solutions for smartphones and tablets, which travel easier and often have their source of built-in wifi (critical when there is not an open network available). Having a password-protected portal is one solution that works wonders.

Also consider mobile technologies that help get work done easier in the field. Lugging around a desktop scanner isn’t realistic, but many smartphones have apps that allow a photo of a document to be turned into a color or black-and-white scanned image and then delivered as a jpg, tiff, or PDF. Likewise, mobile printing technologies have improved to be about the size of a 3-hole punch with simple Bluetooth connectivity.

a woman taking vocal notes

Great Memory. Horrible Notes.

People with excellent memories take great pride in remembering even the smallest details. It saves time and helps them respond to clients, vendors, and other contacts. The problem comes when this person gets sick, is on vacation, or leaves the company, and now no one has any reference on where to pick up in their place.

Get your team to deliver daily or weekly progress reports in writing to avoid any knowledge gaps. If you still need help getting detailed information, look into voice-to-text technologies that allow someone to dictate their notes while in the car or during a meeting. You can also look into recording technologies and services for phone calls delivering transcribed notes. Just be sure to notify others they are being recorded first.


Not Asking for Help

Everyone wants to be seen as a superhero who can take on everything with spectacular results. The truth is, sometimes it’s not that easy. What starts as one person’s problem can quickly negatively impact the entire event.

One way to solve this is to institute the practice of a “Help Button” amongst your team. It can be a simple email that says, “I’m pressing my Help Button,” anyone with the time to help can connect with the team member making the request. Those too involved in other work can stay engaged in different work. If there’s yet to be a response, make it known the person can come to you or other leadership so the event doesn’t get derailed.

woman complaining

Chronic Complaining

We all have times when we need to let off a little steam. Event planning can be stressful. Constant negative talk, however, is damaging and contagious. Relationships are everything in this business, and if people don’t want to be around someone with nothing positive to offer, it limits rather than expands your opportunities.

Work with your team to cultivate upside/downside thinking so that every critical comment is balanced with a positive one.

“This is the third time your company has failed to meet our printing deadline.” (Negative)

“We love the quality of your work, and our client is excited about the paper choice, but we do need a reliable delivery date to move forward as agreed.” (Positive)

You’ll find that by addressing small behaviors as a group, you will be less likely to need to correct just a single person. Instead, your team will model more productive behavior to one another and cultivate a company culture of forward-moving progress.

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